Little Stevie Wants His Fox News In Canada
I want every Canadian to read the following story. It appeared in the Globe and Mail August 19th, 2010, and concerns Stephen Harper’s plan to bring a Fox News style channel to Canadian viewers by 2011.
Mr. Harper not only plans to create a right-wing Conservative-talking-points style network here in Canada, but he would like it to be a Category 1 digital station, meaning it will be a mandatory part of one of the digital cable packages and funded partly by every viewers cable television fees. There is currently a petition being prepared by Avaaz.org that will run in major Canadian Newspapers once 100,000 signatures are collected.
Most Americans are wise enough to realize that Fox News is a Republican propaganda machine that does little to offer unbiased coverage of domestic and world events. There is no competing stations in the market with such a singularly subjective view of the daily news, save perhaps a few segments on MSNBC. In Canada, we presently have our own national all news channels, CBC News Network and CTV NewsNet, as well as MSNBC, CNN, HNN, BBC World, and yes, Fox News. I suspect that the Canadian Fox News clone will be supported or partially owned by Rupert Murdoch, current owner of Fox News south of the border, as Stevie had a lunch meeting with both Murdoch and Roger Ailes, current president of that network.
If present bundling packages are any indication, Fox News North, as it has been dubbed, will be off to an early lead among Category 1 stations: In a list of extended cable packages offered by my own local provider, Fox News is one of only 2 channels that is bundled in more than one package.
The other problem that I can see is that if a broadcast license is issued to Fox News North, it would most certainly be able to make a case that as a national news network, it should be entitled to the same advantages offered CBC News Network and CTV NewsNet and be offered as part of all basic cable services nationwide; again giving it a larger chunk of cable dollars.
Do we need a Fox News clone in Canada? My trite answer would be no.
The bigger issue here is not whether Canadians want or need a right wing news agency. The issue is why a sitting Prime Minister is actively working to get a license for any network. Another good question is why a former spokesman for our Prime Minister should be in charge of the political coverage of Sun Media group, one of the largest media consortiums in our country.
Stephen Harper needs to focus on the task of running a country, not on building a conservative propaganda feedback loop. The network itself would also require a systematic dismantling of CRTC regulations regarding balanced coverage during our election cycle, something I can only imagine would make Little Stevie beam with joy.
Hat tip to Pharyngula for the heads up.
Note To My International Readers: If you don’t see what all the fuss is about, you clearly need a Stephen Harper history lesson. Start with this post over at Lousy Canuck regarding Little Stevie’s plan to make our long form census optional.